Coronavirus newly confirmed cases have been falling in the UK every day since the peak in April. This makes the case for reopening pubs and restaurants next weekend a strong one but the threat of contracting the virus is not entirely absent. In fact, hospitality areas could abound with bacterial hotspots, despite efforts to eradicate all traces.
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When entering bars and restaurants next weekend, you should be mindful of the bacterial breedings grounds, warned Jurica Weissbarth, Managing Director of Zidac Laboratories.
Weissbarth outlined seven bacterial spots to be aware of:
- Entrance door handles
- Tables and bar surfaces
- Stair & escalator handrails
- Card payment pin machines
What should I do when coming into contact with these hotspots?
As Weisbarth explained, the hospitality trade will be doing everything they can to maintain a high level of hygiene but it is still advisable to hand sanitise whenever possible after coming into contact with the above hotspots.
As he explained, you have to be equipped with a hand sanitiser that is up to the job.
“Not all hand sanitisers are created equal: Look for a hand sanitiser that contains at least 70 percent alcohol,” advised Weisbarth.
This is the active ingredient that kills germs by dissolving them and for it to be fully anti-bacterial it must contain this high percentage.
According to Weisbarth, many off-the-shelf sanitisers fall below this standard.
It is also important to study the product before buying it.
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As Weisbarth noted, when a sanitiser has gone through the correct testing methods, they are permitted to state the percentage of bacteria it will kill on the bottle.
“Look for a product that clearly states it kills 99.9% of germs,” he said.
You can also determine from the product description how forgiving or harsh it will be on your skin.
“Increased hand washing can become uncomfortable but guidelines still state the need to wash hands for 20 seconds to kill off germs,” explained Weisbarth.
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This can make skin react poorly, becoming dry, cracked and painful and a harsh sanitiser will only exacerbate the problem, he said.
To stay on the safe side, opt for a product that contains soothing properties such as aloe vera, advised Weisbarth.
Finally, make sure the hand sanitiser is practical for your daily needs.
“Size matters – It’s sensible to have a different format: a small one for when on the move and out socialising is ideal,” said Weisbarth.
He added: “An inferior product, particularly in smaller travel-sized format, can leak in your pocket or handbag.”
What should I do if I start to show symptoms when out and about?
According to the NHS, if you start to experience mild symptoms, you should head home immediately and self-isolate for seven days.
The main symptoms are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” added the NHS.
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